We went all wild tonight and decided to have a glass of wine in a real bar. There we were, three married or relationshipped women discussing art and politics, when this one older man from the nextdoor table decided to start the old “Can I ask you a question” routine. We obviously didn’t answer him, and tried to keep on going, but the conversation got drained, when he started bothering us more and more.
“I’m just gonna say one thing.”
“Hey, you, older madam!”
“Can I ask you a question.”
“I’m just going to say this one thing. Can I say this one thing.”
There were pauses, even 5-10 minutes, but it got really annoying. Our conversation and the not responding had no effect on him whatsoever.
It’s not like we haven’t been there before, we all have. I used to be a lot more aggressive, because this kind of a demanding presence faced me every time I went out to just have a coffee or a drink. And it doesn’t matter what you respond, if you do, they never go away, and you end up insulting them a lot more than you’d like, and then they have a reason to start bitching about what a bitch you are and start acting aggressive in a real way – which always was on their agenda anyway. Because they disregarded all the negative feedback, the not respondin, the turning away, the rolled eyes…
These kind of people don’t see women as people. To them women are always obligated to answer. Women don’t have their own minds. We are there for their disposal.
Sitting there in silence finally ceased to be an alternative, when he didn’t let us talk at all anymore. So, I said “Leave us alone. We are in a middle of a conversation. Just concentrate on your own friends, okay?”
Well, no. He got pissed allrigt, what a shock, and started to exlaim, how he wasn’t talking to me, but he just wanted to compliment our glasses, and was in reality talking to my friend on the other side of the table. We let out an audible awwww, when he said the thing about the glasses, but when he then started to trash me, it was obvious, how he was after recognition and adoration and whatever else, and now was pouring his aggression on me, because I dared to say out loud what all of us were thinking.
“So, keep out of things that are none of your business”, he ended his rampant bitching about my bitchines. My friend T and my sister were already checking for the waitress, to get the check, to get out. He had busted our nice little utopian bubble, in which tree adult women can have a nice glass of wine without being bothered in a hostile manner. The mood had suddenly turned from relaxed and fun to exhaustingly hostile and defencive.
I just stared at the guy’s now defensively turned back. I kept on looking at him, because I wanted to show, that he had started a fight. When he was suddenly too covardice to face my stare, I stated my opinion very clearly and pretty angrily to my friends. I said something in the lines of “It’s incredible, how men can think that they have the right to expect us to put down everything just to appease their selfrighteous demands.” I went on for a while, because I wanted him to hear, that he didn’t silence us. But at the same time I could hear him boasting to his table of guys, how I was a bitch and laadifuckingdaa. The guys had earlier tried to stop him from harrassing us with no succes and now tried swiftly to change the subject, but the guy was too insulted that we weren’t interested in his advances to drop it. He left for a while, but was blowing kisses from the other side of the bar and generally made his presence known. I know I should’ve confronted him about, what he’d done, but I also knew it wouldn’t do any good. That’s why I agreed to leave, while he was taking a smoke.
We took our coats and had the waitress bring our check to us to the front door. We explained that we didn’t want to stay near the old guy anymore, (not so old, really, maybe 45 or so) because he was bothering us, and the waitress swiftly answered “Why didn’t you say so! I would’ve thrown him out.” Really, that was all I needed to hear. She took us seriously. She saw him as the troublemaker he was. Why couldn’t he see it?
There is still so much to change. But I’d start here, if I was a good guy. We women do make advances too, you know. We are not incapable of making our own minds, so if you are not answered, you are not wanted. Drop it. Just. Drop it.